Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Return Of Sherlock Holmes - Review

Sherlock Holmes, the gaunt, ascetic, ruthlessly logical pursuer of crime and mystery created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle needs no introduction. The adventures of this sharply witty and moody detective and his lovably pedantic and faithful friend Dr. Watson are a perennial source of inspiration to lovers of crime fiction.
Sherlock Holmes a predecessor of a long line of amateur detectives elevated criminal investigation to a fine art. His original and imaginative plot races along like a furious roller coaster, leaving the reader guessing which way it will turn next...
Read on to find out how Holmes and Dr. Watson solve mysteries of
  • The Empty House
  • The Six Napoleons
  • The Norwood Builder
  • The Three Students
  • The Dancing Men
  • The Golden Pince-Nez
  • The Solitary Cyclist
  • The Missing Three-quarter
  • The Priory School
  • The Abbey Grange
  • Black Peter
  • The Second Stain
  • Charles Augustus Milverton

About the Author
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle KGStJ, DL (22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930) was a Scottish physician and writer who is most noted for his fictional stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, which are generally considered milestones in the field of crime fiction. He is also known for writing the fictional adventures of a second character he invented, Professor Challenger, and for popularizing the mystery of the Mary Celeste. He was a prolific writer whose other works include fantasy and science fiction stories, plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction, and historical novels.

‘The Return of Sherlock Holmes’ provides the ardent fans of this franchise a reason to rejoice. Holmes, who had supposedly encountered death while engaging in a duel with the evil Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls, returns to add a few more adventures to his credit, along with his friend and companion Dr. Watson.

The book documents thirteen cases that he undertook post his self – inflicted exile.

‘The Empty House’ starts with the murder of a young gambler, Ronald Adair, but leads to Holmes meeting Watson that gives the latter a pleasant shock. Holmes’s account of his fight with Moriarty, how he survived the fall, and the reason for his staying away from the public eyes generate interest, and one feels glad to know that ‘The Final Problem’ was certainly not the final one.

‘The Norwood Builder’ refers to Jonas Oldacre, a 52 years old bachelor, whose sudden disappearance and traces of blood points into the direction of John McFarlane as the prime suspect in a sinister plot. We know from the beginning that he has been wrongly accused, but it is only when Holmes reveals the entire mystery and the reason do we get to fully comprehend the situation. This is a plot revolving around unrequited love and vengeance.

‘The Dancing Men’ starts as a puzzle, inviting the readers to find its solution. What seems like a bizarre set of images turn out to be the key to the mysterious affair, and we can only marvel at the genius of Holmes. The background revolving around the deciphering of the secret code surely stands ahead of its time.

In ‘The Solitary Cyclist’, Violet Smith finds herself often followed by a mysterious man as she travels to and fro her employer’s place. Though her follower maintains a safe distance and doesn’t harm her, she can’t let her mind be at peace and seeks assistance of Holmes. However, a dangerous scheme uncovers, and what seemed to be a harmless turns into a dark bend of mind.

Sherlock’s strong deduction skill comes to light yet again in ‘The Priory School.’ Dr. Huxtable, the founder of a preparatory school named ‘The Priory School’ comes to Holmes to seek assistance with regards to the kidnapping of one of his students. This is certainly one of the most twisted plots that I have read of Holmes, and yet, with his brilliant observations, he is able to solve the mystery.

In ‘Black Peter’, a gruesome murder is committed with a harpoon, and the young police inspector on duty, Stanley Hopkins, seeks Holmes’s help. Like the previous stories in this book, this one too traverses to the past, uncovering the history of those involved. The reason for the murder comes to light, and as always, Holmes steals the show.

‘Charles Augustus Milverton’ is one of my favourites in the book. The plot revolves around a master blackmailer, who threatens a lady with dire consequences if she doesn’t pay heed to his demands. What makes it interesting is that Holmes's negotiation skills come into the forefront, and we soon find that the opponent provides a good enough resistance to our detective.

Someone is keen on breaking the busts of Napoleon in ‘The Six Napoleons’. Now, what could be the purpose of such a weird activity? Initially, it appears to be a whim of a Napoleon – hater, but then Holmes succeeds in revealing the entire truth, and we are left astounded to figure out that a lot lied beyond what met the eyes.

‘The Three Students’ takes us to St. Luke’s College. The crime here is that someone entered the office of Mr. Soames, a lecturer, when he was not there, and had a look at the proofs of an upcoming examination. There are three suspects. This is a refreshing change from the murder scenes that form the backdrop of most of the cases documented by Dr. Watson.

‘The Golden Pince-Nez’ documents the murder case of Willoughby Smith, secretary to Professor Coram, who is an invalid. There seems to be no reason for the murder, and no evident logic for the crime to have taken place. Here again, the past plays an important role in performing the crime, and we realize how unfavourable circumstances can lead a person to perform deeds of extreme evil.

Godfrey Staunton, a popular athlete, disappears ahead of a key football game in ‘The Missing Three-Quarter.’ Here, we see the author trying to bring forth a tale of human emotions instead of a crime. How important it is to preserve a secret, and to what length can a person go to do so, forms the crux of the story.

Often, we witness Holmes’s sense of justice. ‘The Abbey Grange’ is one such story where Holmes solves the mystery related to the murder of a wealthy Englishman, Sir Brackenstall. Initially, a notorious gang is suspected to have played a crucial role in the crime. However, we soon get to know that’s not the case. Also, Holmes’s judgement shows how much he values human relationships, and believes that every fault doer should deserve a second chance.

‘The Second Stain’ turns out to be Holmes’s final adventure, and what a remarkable closure it is. Revolving around politics, spies, foreign policies and a young wife, the story has the perfect ingredient to heighten the reader’s curiosity, and it does it quite successfully.

‘The Return of Sherlock Holmes’ does have accounts of remarkable cases, and turns out to be an interesting read. However, having gone through all of Holmes’s adventures, I found this collection weaker in comparison to the rest. Yet, this can be an excellent start for a person unacquainted with Holmes’s cases. Shall I recommend this book to others? Yes, of course, ‘cause Sherlock Holmes should be read, and savoured, always and forever.

Title: The Return of Sherlock Holmes 
Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Publication Year: 2013
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Short Fiction, Mystery
No. of Pages: 336
Price: Rs 135
My Rating: 3/5


  1. I have Sherlock Holmes with me for a long time but I have not read yet...
    I wish I read them soon!

  2. what a detailed and awesome review!! I did not know that Sir Doyle was a physician! Loved this post :)


  4. Have read and reread Holmes in my teens... still love him & Baker Street...

  5. First read Holmes when I was 12, didnt understand it, then read when I was 17 as part of school curriculum, didn't understand it then too! I find Holmes novels confusing :-(

    1. Just read one or two of his stories, and once you get used to the style, you will surely enjoy him :-)

  6. Sherlock Holmes, the world's first consulting detective. he solves many hundreds of cases untill his retires.his retirement is our great loss. thanks for share it